Sunday, July 19, 2009

Richer dust

There can be such a thing as too much information: I am reading an excellent modern biography of Rupert Brooke and warts do predominate. A fascinating character though - I have been vaguely aware that his life was much more interesting than both the legend or the poetry (though the latter has flashes of excellence and in some photos he truly does look angelic, no wonder the contemporaries lost their barings as regards him, and no great wonder that he himself did). Such a range though: in his correspondence and verse he makes absolutely unsentimental, sharp and fresh observations only to sunk into self-centred, self-regarding hysteria, primitive misogeny and anti-semitism. At times a profound writer, at times a spoiled immature adolescent. So far then from Sorley whose famous assessment of Brooke's war sonnets is devastatingly accurate. There might have been something there had he survived - but probably anything after would have been a long, sad anticlimax. Again so different from Sorley who surely was a bitter loss to literature, and to his age.

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